ISIS final battle: SDF to start offensive against last ISIS fighters

US prepares full Syria withdrawal by end of April unless something changes Trump’s mind – report

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The coalition has been training and providing air support to the Syrian Democratic Forces, which launched an offensive on the last pocket of jihadist territory in September 2018.

Turfing out ISIS from the final 1%, comprising two villages, Marashida and Baghuz Fawqani, near the Iraqi border, will be the focus on the SDF operation tonight.

President Donald Trump, who is planning to pull USA forces out of Syria, said on Wednesday he expected an announcement as early as next week that the US -led coalition operating in support of the SDF had reclaimed all the territory previously held by the jihadist group.

The SDF, backed by United States air power, has driven ISIS from large swathes of territory it once controlled in northern and eastern Syria, confining the extremists to a small pocket of land near the border with Iraq.

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SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali told AFP, "The battle has started". SDF troops, led by Kurdish fighters, have been holding on the outskirts of ISIS territory for the last 10 days as more than 20,000 civilians were evacuated from the besieged enclave, the SDF said. But the group lost its two main prizes - the Syrian city of Raqqa and Iraq's Mosul - in 2017.

On Friday, Kurdish-led forces in eastern Syria prepared for a push on the last remaining speck of the IS group's so-called "caliphate", of which just a few scattered hamlets in the Euphrates Valley remain.

After capturing Raqqa, the SDF advanced southwards into Deir al-Zor province, attacking the jihadists in territory on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River.

US President Donald Trump predicted Wednesday that IS will have lost all of its territory by next week.

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But it is not the end for hundreds of Isis fighters surrounded in eastern Syria, or the thousands who have already escaped.

The U.S. military is preparing to withdraw all of its forces from Syria by the end of April, the Wall Street Journal has reported on February 7.

All US forces will be withdrawn from Syria by the end of April, unless the Trump administration decides otherwise, the Wall Street Journal reported citing anonymous "current and former" officials. The withdrawal would also include troops deployed at the USA military base at Tanf, near the Syrian border with Iraq and Jordan, they said.

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